Children are not born with a concept of money, although they seem to have an instant skill for spending it.  As a parent it is part of our role in life to teach them how to manage their pennies and save for the future.

When each of my children were born we set them up a saving account where we have been putting a small amount away each month.   They also have current accounts where they put their birthday money , and of course they have piggy banks in their room.
SAM_0758

They love spending, but they seem to be coming round to the idea of saving their cash as well.  My son is saving for a new x box and my daughter just wants to know she has money if she needs it…

Top tips on encouraging children to save.

Split their pocket money in half, give them half for their piggy bank and half for their saving account.  They then get he best of both worlds.

Give them extra pocket money for going over and above their usual chores.

For example, mine have to make their beds, tidy their bedroom on a daily basis.  If they help me with the dishwasher, washing the car etc, they can earn extra twenty pences.

Child labour is cheap, which helps my own saving….

Set a goal, my son is working really hard to save for his x box, he knows the details of his bank account down to the last penny, and is forever looking for deals on x boxes!  Motivation is a great tool for kids…

kids kept entertained at dinner

As a family, we are always keen to keep the kids involved with the finances, and also share the true value of items.  They know how much houses cost, we have taught them about morgages.  They know to buy a home you need a big deposit and the ability to make monthly payments.  They know the difference between buying a car and a pint of milk.  That way we can try and show them ways to be sensible with their cash and give them an idea of what they may need to put away for the future.

What ways do you encourage your kids to save?

 

 

 

Every thing seems to have a price tag nowadays.  Which makes trying to entertain kids a costly business.

So hence my delight this week when we were introduced to Disney’s Marvel Kids Games.

Free and fun!

spiderman

Which was perfect timing, as this week, my nine year old son and I were spending a day together in hospital as he underwent minor surgery.  So we both needed something to take our mind off things.

You can find a whole host of things to do at MarvelKids, for children (and adults of all ages).   You can play games, watch videos, learn about the characters, or get stuck into activities.

Whilst my son was with the surgeon I passed the hour happily playing Spider Man Suduko!

Owen, however, was slightly more into games with a bit more action, and decieded to first sample Big Hero 6, then he played SpiderMan Web Slinger for what felt like an age….

Web slinger involves acting as Spiderman using your web to sling your way through New York City, jumping, sliding and web slinging to stay out of harms way.

spidey slinger

Web slinger involvesPlayplaying -Man and swing through the streets of New York City! Use your spider-skills to web swing, slide and jump to avoid danger!

Owen was ace at it….

I was rubbish!

(My excuse is I was trying to screen shot).

But his favourite game by far was Gamma Storm Smash.

You get to navigate Hulk and the Agents of Smash into a Gamma Storm where you need to defeat Annihilius and his army invasion.

Again, I was rubbish…

hulk loser

Left to me, the Universe would be pretty much destroyed.

However, luckily for Earth and the planets, Owen was a pretty good smasher!

hulk

Marvel Kids are amazing fun, free, and true to the films.  It was such a good distraction from what could have been a really miserable day confined to a hospital bed.

Check out the full range of games available here.

Warning: If over 30 – stick to Suduko or the word search – attempting to join in anything else will only end in shame…..

 

In association with Disney

My tiny little four year old starts school in a week.

lego libs

It seems almost ridiculous, it was literally seconds ago that I held her to my breast and fed her for the first tme after she made my world so much brighter by arriving in it.

I have so little inclination to send her into the education system, I merely want to keep her at home, with me.

But time must move on and I need to put my worries aside, as they are of a selfish nature, and face the future of having three children at school and having time to crack on and get stuff done.

Therotically, because all my kids are now at school, I should be able to work more, and earn more.

Time will tell if that is true….

Although, there is a benefit to Libby-Sue starting school….

She is going to get her dinner, for free, for three years!

Libby-Sue will be one of the many four years old starting ‘big’ school this September who will benefit from the Governments scheme to give all children in reception, year one and two a hot school meal every lunchtime.

Plus, school meals have come on a long way since we were nippers.

My school meal memories comprise of semolina with jam in, stodgy mash and clumped up peas.  I don’t remember ever looking at my plate and thinking, ‘hmmmm, this is nutrious.’

But Libby-Sue has a whole new experience to look forward to, with a variety of meals being offered, all with a decent serving of fruit and veg.

For example, she will be chowing down on Roast Chicken, coated in non lumpy gravy, Salmon fishcakes, made from fresh, and lamb meatballs served with pasta.

Suddenly my daily salad looks rather dull.

You can check out the Children’s Food Trust website for full menu details, but if you want to start preparing your little one for school life, you may be tempted to have a go at this reciepe so they know what sort of food to expect at lunchtime!

Lamb meatballs as taken from the Food Trust website.

Number of portions this recipe makes: 25 primary servings (135g) – Invite friends!
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Quantity Ingredients
1.5kg lean lamb mince
5g (5tsp) mixed dried herbs
25ml olive oil
150g onions, peeled and diced
100g leeks, trimmed and diced
30g celery, diced
160g red pepper, deseeded and sliced
100g courgettes, sliced
50g tomato purée
120g carrots, peeled and sliced
120g canned chopped tomatoes
300ml water
5g (5tsp) dried oregano

What to do….

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
2. In a large bowl, mix the minced lamb with the dried mixed herbs. Shape the mixture
into balls, approximately 2 per 60g of meat, and place on a baking tray.
3. Bake the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes until just starting to brown, then
transfer to an ovenproof baking dish and set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large pan, fry the onions, leeks, celery, pepper and courgettes until
soft.
5. Add the tomato purée and stir well. Then add the carrots, canned tomatoes, water
and dried oregano and stir well. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer until all the
vegetables are soft, approximately 20 minutes.
6. In a food processer or with a stick blender, blend the vegetable and tomato mixture
until smooth.
7. Pour the vegetable and tomato sauce over the meatballs to generously cover them.
Cover the dish with tin foil and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes until bubbling hot.

file000676404312Do you think they will let me come in for dinners?  It looks far more inviting than back in my day!

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All my three children have had an aversion to teeth cleaning from an early age.  My eldest son used to nibble on my fingers rather than the brush as a baby, and his twin sister declared every form of toothpaste that entered her mouth as disgusting.

Dental hygiene became a battling point when they were young.

Luckily, a made up rhyme, some Peppa Pig themed paste, and a flashing toothbrush eventually saved me, and teeth brushing became an enjoyable pastime, but it took some time to get there.

As a mum, it is something you have to persevere with, because dental health is pretty important.

Babies get their first teeth around six months of age, usually accompanied by grizzling, red cheeks and a few sleepless nights.   By the time they are three, they should have all of their primary teeth, and then after hanging on to those for a couple of years they will all start to drop out between the ages of six and eleven.

So how to care for those pearly whites.

  1. Firstly, get a dentist.  You should have your babies’ teeth examined by a dentist by their first birthday.  You can use toothpick.com, a really simple website that allows you to book appointments on line with dentists who treat children within your local area.  It takes all the stress out of calling numerous dentists trying to find an appointment.  You will also be able to read reviews and see ratings to help you make an informed choice as a parent.

teeth

  1. Make sure they eat a decent mix of food and get good nutrition.  Make those little teeth strong by giving them plenty of food and vegetables as a great source of calcium.

 

  1. Use a soft brush for children and only a tiny pea sized amount of toothpaste.

 

  1. Set a timer for 2/3 minutes (or get a flashing brush) so the child knows how long to brush for.

 

  1. Change toothbrushes every 3 months

 

  1. Get them flossing as soon as they can – they will need help until they are around eight or nine.

 

  1. Avoid sugary drinks, and fizzy pop – that will ruin those little baby teeth.

 

  1. Give them plenty of water; it is good for their entire being not just their teeth!